Theme Park Review:The Subs Are Back

In the news this week, a little fish named Nemo and his turtle friend named Squirt got lost on their way out to a totally awesome adventure on the EAC, dude. (That means Eastern Australian Current for those of you who don't speak turtle). Nemo's father Marlin and his friend Dory have set off on their own adventure to find Nemo and bring him home. The harrowing adventure story of a lost little clown fish, his turtle counterpart, his father, and Dory surviving an encounter with a threesome of fish-loving sharks, sub mine explosions, an underwater volcano eruption, and being eaten by a whale is told in the newest Disneyland spin on a favorite attraction, Finding Nemo: Submarine Voyage.

The submarine ride that many remember from their childhood opened June 6, 1959 — the same year as the Matterhorn Bobsleds and the Monorail. But sadly, the subs closed September 7, 1998. After being dormant for almost nine years, the submarines resurfaced last Monday, June 11.

As you enter the subs, there is the 'new ride smell' that brings a smile to the young and young at heart even though the same eight subs are used that have been employed since opening day of the original attraction in 1959. Walt Disney used to brag about having the eighth largest fleet of submarines in the world.

Although the vehicles are the same, the ride sure isn't. The original attraction had 126 animated figures (audio-animatronics that moved) and 180 static figures (figures that stayed still). This attraction has 36 static figures and 60 animated figures including three of those annoying seagulls that claim ownership over everything. They sit atop a dinghy on the surface of the lagoon spouting their only line — "Mine! Mine! Mine!" But the biggest difference between the old attraction and the new is the Pixar-animated characters. A new projection system was developed to project the complex yet lovable characters from this colorful world and really bring them to life.

It is a fascinating new technology that really helps to create a totally immersive experience (no pun intended).

As with every new Disneyland attraction, the lines may be very long for the first few months, but this ride is worth the wait. The theme park has made the wait comfortable by shading the queue line and piping in great music. This is all next to a 6.3 million gallon lagoon. Its a great way to cool down on a summer day at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. I give this attraction a 5 out of 5 stars!

If subs aren't for you, Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer's Island has just opened and provides a wilderness playground for scalywags of all ages.

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